Riverside Ranks #8 in Forbes’ Coolest Cities In America!

(This article contains excerpts from an article published on Forbes.com)

Forbes just released a list a of America’s “Coolest” Cities, and Riverside ranked #8.  How do you define “cool”?  According to Erin Carlyle, Forbes staff, “We sought to quantify it in terms of cities, partnering with Sperling’s BestPlaces to rank the 60 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions (cities and their surrounding suburbs, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget) based on six data points we weighted evenly.”  The six data points used to rank the cities include: arts and culture, reacreation, diversity, local eats, population age, and net migration.

Arts & Culture Index: 88, Recreation Index: 93, Diversity Index: 77.27, Local Eats: 72.2%, Population age 20-34: 29.7%, 2010 - 2013 Net Migration: 1.8%.  Photo credit: Forbes.com

Arts & Culture Index: 88, Recreation Index: 93, Diversity Index: 77.27, Local Eats: 72.2%, Population age 20-34: 29.7%, 2010 – 2013 Net Migration: 1.8%. Photo credit: Forbes.com

Although many might dispute that Riverside should be #1 on the list, being ranked one of the “coolest” cities in the country is an outstanding representation of our beloved city being a true location of choice.  Riverside has proven to be an attractive place for all types of residents, workers, professionals, entrepreneurs, and visitors.  Riversiders take pride in our beloved city with countless opportunities to be entertained, amazed, and inspired.     That is why the City of Riverside will continue to become a location of choice for people and organizations from allover the world.

To read the full article, click here.

 

 

Riverside Unified School District Teachers Go On Arctic Expedition

(This article contains excerpts from rusdlink.org and the Arctic’s Edge Facebook page.)

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After collecting samples from four ponds along Lindy Trail this morning, the team “chills” on the tundra. Photo credit: Arctic’s Edge

Eight Riverside Unified School District teachers went on an Arctic Expedition this summer. With an Earthwatch fellowship made possible through the Riverside Educational Enrichment Foundation (REEF).

The adventurers include: Stephanie  Niechayev from Arlington High School; JulieOlson from Chemawa Middle school; Melinda Lang from Madison Elementary School; Erin Garcia from University Heights Middle School; Suzanne Priebe from Earhart Middle School; Tammy Soper from Sierra Middle School; Carla Yawney from Kennedy Elementary School; and Kristin Kund from Poly High School.

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Photo credit: Arctic’s Edge

The expedition team from RUSD exemplifies Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  Not only were they able to gather valuable research and data, they are now able to share the findings with their students. This experience gives students the opportunity to take their eyes out of the books briefly and connect with teachers in a fun and interesting way.

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Photo credit: Arctic’s Edge

The teachers departed for their trip on July 9 and were gone through July 20. They travelled to Manitoba, Canada to measure evidence of global warming. The objective was to take water samples; assess the abundance of fish and frogs, and monitor the health of trees in the area. Teachers spent the mornings collecting data, worked in labs in the afternoons, and attended lectures in the evenings.

To read more, click here.

 

Entrepreneurs Team Up Under One Roof

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Laurie Lucas, published in the Press-Enterprise on July 13, 2014)

Three Inland Empire entrepreneurs with enough chops and hops to go pro have tapped into an unusual business model to keep their home drafts flowing.  Brad McCauley, 31, Jason Castonguay, 38, and Philip Vieira, 29, are exceptionally bright science and computer geeks with a thirst for creating innovative beers and ales. But they lack the big bucks for a startup.

Brad McCauley, 31, Jason Castonguay, 38, and Philip Vieira, 29, left to right, are three brewers sharing facilities in an “incubator” for home brewers provided by Brew Crew, who hold the lease in a Riverside building. Photo credit: Kurt Miller.

Brad McCauley, 31, Jason Castonguay, 38, and Philip Vieira, 29, left to right, are three brewers sharing facilities in an “incubator” for home brewers provided by Brew Crew, who hold the lease in a Riverside building. Photo credit: Kurt Miller.

The concept is to help nanobrewing neophytes shed their amateur status by allowing them to work in a collaborative space where they can share equipment, develop recipes in a commercial setting and test-market directly to the public.

It is interesting to see entrepreneurs collaborating to help build each others brands by sharing knowledge and equipment, the brewers at Brew Crew Inc exemplify Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  Working everyday to harness entrepreneurial spirit within the community, Riverside embraces economic growth and directs it so it maintains and improves our already outstanding quality of life. 

Brew Crew, an 1,800-square-foot manufacturing and retail facility at Suite G, 11626 Sterling Ave., contains two brewing systems, a walk-in cooler to store kegs and a bar with 16 taps. There’s seating for 50, 25 in the store front and 25 in the warehouse when brewing isn’t happening.

The trio of brewers are contract laborers working under the umbrella of a single corporation, Brew Crew, which leases the building. Its co-founders, CEO McCauley and Vince Pileggi, chief business officer, scrambled for 18 months to obtain all of the licensing and permits before opening the brewery and tap room six weeks ago. Depending on drink sizes, prices run from $1.50 to $7. There’s no food served, but customers may bring their own.  “There are a lot of home brew clubs in this area that have amazing brewers,” Pileggi said. The goal is to provide the resources “to incubate” fledgling brewers who hope to eventually take wing on their own. “We’re finding the best talent we can and courting others who can benefit and grow,” he said.

To read more, click here.

 

Unbreakable Bond: American Soldier Opens Home To Afghan Compatriot

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Skylar Kund, published in the Commuter LBCC on May 28, 2014.)

Riversider Chris Grigsby, 48, spent 17 years in the United States Army Infantry. His last deployment was for 13 months in Afghanistan. In February 2006, during this deployment, he met Lais Khan.  Khan joined the Afghan National Army after the Taliban killed his father. When he learned to speak English he became an interpreter, who is capable of speaking four different languages.

MARJAH, Afghanistan (June 28, 2010) Seabees, Marines, Soldiers and members of the Afghan National Army take a tour of an area surrounding a newly completed Mabey-Johnson Bridge project. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ace Rheaume/Released) Image via Wikimedia Commons.

MARJAH, Afghanistan (June 28, 2010) Seabees, Marines, Soldiers and members of the Afghan National Army take a tour of an area surrounding a newly completed Mabey-Johnson Bridge project. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ace Rheaume/Released) Image via Wikimedia Commons.

When asked to comment on the relationship between Grigsby himself and Khan, Grigsby said, “He saved my life both directly and indirectly more than once.”  After creating an unbreakable bond, when Grigsby’s deployment was over he flew home, and the two went their separate ways. Khan continued his work for the U.S. government, and Grigsby returned home to Riverside, California. They didn’t know it, but they would meet again in a very different place.

Seven years later, Grigsby received a phone call.  “Lais worked for the U.S. government the last 9 years. Now that the U.S. is leaving Afghanistan, the Taliban is trying to kill him and his family,” said Grigsby.  When Lais inquired about receiving a special immigrant visa and moving to America with his family of four, Grigsby didn’t just offer help to this man who had saved his life: he offered his home. A year later, Lais’ family, a family none of the Grigsby’s had ever met, moved in, bringing three trunks of their only possessions.

Since moving in, the public outpour has been amazing. From food to a car, the Riverside community has reached out to the family. One donor named Sandra Reierson passed on her family’s car to the Khan family.  “We’re so glad it went to a good home. The first time we drove that car was to pick up our granddaughter,” said Sandra Reierson.

The transition for the family has been relatively smooth. The families get along well and the children have entered the local public school.  We would all be lucky to have friends like the Grigsby’s.

This story of friendship, adversity, and the resilience of the human spirit is a remarkable example of seizing our destiny’s unified city pillar.   We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.  Not only did the Grisby family generously open up their home, the people of Riverside made an effort to welcome the deserving Khan family as well, and that is exactly what sets our community apart from many others.  Riversiders are working together everyday to not only address local issues, but to also have a positive impact on the region, nation and world.  

To read the full article, click here.

 

Foster Care Inspires Playwright

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Chrystal Allegria, published in the Press-Enterprise on May 7, 2014.)

Regina Louise wanted to do something big with her life, even if that meant baring her soul.  From birth until age 18, Louise bounced around the foster care system in Texas, Georgia and California. Now, 50, Louise is a playwright, motivational speaker and a graduate student at the University of California, Riverside.  The original play, “Bearing Our Soles,” is founded on Louise’s lonely childhood, but also tells the “shoe stories” of other authors that speak of life and love.

Playwright Regina Louise will present her play, Bearing Our Soles, in Riverside this weekend. Louise grew up in foster care.  Photo Credit: UCR

Playwright Regina Louise will present her play, Bearing Our Soles, in Riverside this weekend. Louise grew up in foster care. Photo Credit: UCR

“Life, love, story. It’s all relational,” said Louise, who is working on a master’s degree in creative writing and writing for the performing arts. “The sole holds us up. The soul of man is what holds us up to withstand the impact that we have every day.”

Growing up in group homes and institutions made Louise long for a parental figure, a feeling she discussed in her 2003 memoirs, “Somebody’s Someone: A Memoir.” The book inspired her to write a one-woman monologue of the same name, which she wrote and performed at the Sacramento Theatre Company in 2007.

Instead of revisiting the monologue, Louise’s professor encouraged her to seek stories from others. “So I sent out a call for stories about shoes,” she said.  The response was tremendous. Louise received shoe stories from individuals who also bared their souls.  “’Bearing Our Soles’ is this idea to bare, expose the story… it’s the idea that our stories aren’t so different and that the idea that they bear resemblance,” Louise said. “We are more alike than we are different.”

“The work I do is in service to something much larger. In order to do something possible, it must be fueled by hope. That hope is a fuel injection, if you will, to my being possible,” she said.

“Bearing Our Soles” is a part of the MaryLu Clayton Rosenthal New Play Festival and will be performed at 8 p.m. on May 23 and 31 at the UCR Studio Theater at 900 University Ave. in Riverside.

The work of Regina Louise is an example of why Riverside is a location of choice.  Our community provides an abundance of opportunities to be amazed, inspired and entertained, including arts and cultural offerings.  Her story is an inspiration and it catalyzes hope.

To read the full article click here.

King High Students Hear Veterans’ Experiences

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Dayna Straehley, published in the Press-Enterprise on March 21, 2014.)

U.S. veterans participate at King High Remembers. High school juniors interviewed 298 veterans and learned history from them Friday March 21. The crowd overflowed from the school gym into the multipurpose room and some classrooms.

U.S. Army Korean War veteran Charles Geitner, 85, an Illinois native now living in Fullerton, shares his experiences with Riverside King High School juniors Darrel Artiaga and Nicole Item. The school's 11th graders interviewed 298 veterans during King High Remembers on Friday March 21.  Photo Credit: Milka Soko

U.S. Army Korean War veteran Charles Geitner, 85, an Illinois native now living in Fullerton, shares his experiences with Riverside King High School juniors Darrel Artiaga and Nicole Item. The school’s 11th graders interviewed 298 veterans during King High Remembers on Friday March 21. Photo Credit: Milka Soko

The veterans were interviewed across tables in the school gym, multipurpose room and in classrooms by groups of two or three 11th graders, who asked about their war experiences, military life, homecoming, their opinion of their time in the service and current conflicts.

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When Sgt. Bert Frank got home from World War II after three years in the Army, he took off his uniform and threw it on the floor.  He didn’t put it back on until Friday, March 21, when he wore it to King High School in Riverside.  Frank, a 90-year-old Los Angeles resident, was among 298 veterans interviewed by high school juniors in the 14th annual King High Remembers. One of those students was his grandson Joel Frank.

Like many veterans, Frank, brought a scrapbook that included some mementos of happy experiences. He was in the Army from 1942 to 1945.

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Frank told students about the dances they had almost every week while he was stationed in the Philippines and USO shows with Bob Hope, King Kaiser and others. The Army showed movies, but almost all of them were interrupted by bombers that sent soldiers running for their fox holes.

The King High Remembers event that took place on Friday that allowed students to interview veterans represented the seizing our destiny pillars intelligent growth, and unified city.  By interviewing the veterans directly in small groups like this gave the high school students a very valuable opportunity to learn about not only our country’s history, but also the heritage and background of local heroes.  Speaking to veterans from different branches of military from numerous wars, the knowledge instilled from the veterans certainly exemplified intelligent growth, by equipping the students with information and knowledge that can’t be taught in textbooks.

The experiences shared and interaction between two different generations was a great example of Riverside being a unified city.  The students were able to have intimate conversations with a melting pot of veterans.  Veterans from numerous military branches in attendance ranged in war involvement, age, ethnicity, and background.  The diversity of attendees enabled the students to hear a broad perspective of experiences, and to understand the commonality among all of the veterans.   They were given the opportunity to respect and value the cultural heritage, distinct needs and varied input of each of the veterans, while proactively engaging with them across generational gaps.

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WAR TALLY

Some veterans served in two or more wars or did not list a war. Not all of the 361 who were expected showed up. Others arrived without advance notice, making for a total of 298, social studies teachers said.

WWII: 59

KOREAN WAR: 57

VIETNAM WAR: 149

COLD WAR: 48

GULF WAR: 21

IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN WARS: 17

To read the full article, click here.

 

 

Wells Fargo UrbanLIFT Community Grant Program Awards $486,000 to Strengthen Neighborhoods

(This article contains excerpts from a Wells Fargo News Release dated March 7, 2014)

On March 7, 2014 Wells Fargo, announced its award for $458,600 to Habitat for Humanity Riverside (HFHR) and the Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services (NPHS) as part of the UrbanLIFT Community Grant Program with each organization receiving $229,300. Wells Fargo Grant

With the grant funds received, HFHR and NPHS will support neighborhood revitalization efforts that will include: NHFR’s Neighborhood Revitalizations Initiative helping to engage the community, creating holistic improvements and neighborhood cohesiveness, and further filling its mutual goal of creating safe, decent affordable housing.

NPHS will use grant dollars awarded to install solar panels on homes in Riverside County and to remove several dilapidated properties paving way for the construction of seven new affordable homes. These revitalization efforts fall under NPHS’ Sustainable Communities Catalyst Project, a multi-pronged redevelopment strategy which guides and prioritizes resources to targeted neighborhood clusters throughout the Inland Valley.

The UrbanLIFT community grant program is funded by Wells Fargo and operated by NeighborWorks America. The program is designed to provide support to local nonprofits for neighborhood revitalization projects in 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with diverse populations that are impacted by foreclosures. Since its launch in February 2012, LIFT initiatives which is the parent for programs such as UrbanLIFT including the NeighborhoodLIFT and CityLIFT have helped create more than 5,000 homeowners with the support of down payment assistance and homebuyer education in collaboration with NeighborWorks America, members of the national nonprofit’s network and local city officials.

This is an example of a unified city and of people being brought together around common interests and concerns. Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all. To read the full news release by Wells Fargo click here, or visit their blog at blog.wellsfargo.com for more information.

Riverside Alum Pilots Bobsled At Winter Olympics

(Excerpts from this post were taken from an article written by Ross French, and published today on UC RiversideThursday, February 6, 2014.)

Cory Butner and Justin Olsen of the United States practice a bobsled run at the Sanki Sliding Center. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Cory Butner and Justin Olsen of the United States practice a bobsled run at the Sanki Sliding Center.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

During his time at UC Riverside, Cory Butner was what Student Recreation Center Associate Director Mike Eason describes as a “gym rat.” Whether it was working as a SRC staff member in the weight room, playing basketball, or working out himself, when Butner wasn’t in the classroom pursuing his degree in statistics, he could likely be found within the walls of the Student Recreation Center.Now just eight years after earning his degree and six years after taking up the sport of bobsledding, the 32-year old, 6-2, 210-pound Yucaipa native is representing the United States as a pilot of a two-man bobsled at the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The two-man competition is scheduled for Feb. 16 and 17 at the Sanki Sliding Center.

“Being a part of this team is the best thing to happen to me,” Butner said. “I’m really excited to be representing the USA on the big stage.”

Butner is currently ranked fifth in the world and is in the midst of a strong 2013-14 World Cup campaign that has seen him record bronze medal finishes at Lake Placid on Dec. 14, 2013, and Winterberg, Germany, on Jan. 3. He also has three fourth-place finishes, including the most recent event on Jan. 25 at Schönau am Königsee, Germany. In 2012-13, he won silver medals at the Park City World Cup and Lake Placid World Cup. He finished ninth overall in the competition at the Sochi track and finished the season ranked eighth in the world.

“Most people don’t know about 95 percent of the stuff that goes into racing. You only get to see 5 percent of what we do on TV once every four years,” he said. “Four years for four minutes of racing to prove to the world who is the best.”

A basketball and track athlete at Colton High School, Butner didn’t play intercollegiate sports at UCR, but fed his desire for competition in the weight room and through intramural sports. He credits his sister, Charity — who played volleyball at UCR and graduated in 2000 — with giving him the idea to pursue the bobsled following his graduation in 2005. It’s great to hear stories like this of former UCR alumni. He is truly a champion and reflects the community’s creative side with a desire for lifelong learning.

For the full article, click here.

TEDx Comes To La Sierra University: “Ideas Worth Spreading”

(This article includes excerpts from the TEDx La Sierra website)

On April 24, 2014 La Sierra University will kick off the first TEDx event in the Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business building, offering participants to accept the challenge…to imagine, to design, to prove the possible.

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Photo Credit: http://www.tedxlasierrauniversity.com/

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California almost 30 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The theme of the upcoming event at La Sierra University celebrates the visionaries, the designers, the champions of “The Possible.”

The featured speakers are those which have challenged the perceived limits of their own potential, inspiring viewers to join them in imagining, creating, and demonstrating just what is possible in our world today.  The TEDx presentation is sure to spark inspiration, and serve as a catalyst for innovation.

If you are interested in speaking and sharing your story, please feel free to visit www.tedxlasierrauniversity.com and apply.  You can also find a link to tickets and registration here.

The schedule for the event on April 24 will be arranged into four segments:

  • Imagine the Possible - Talks which inspire and invite you to see the world differently and explore new ideas.
  • Design the Possible - Talks which engage you in the process of design and innovation, making ideas tangible.
  • Share the Possible - Lunch Break. Use this time to share and discuss ideas with the speakers and other attendees.
  • Prove the Possible - Talks which present the struggle and success of turning ideas into impact, demonstrating the outcome of a quest to prove the possible.

Click here for more information about TEDx at La Sierra